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“Over the past two decades fashion has changed thanks to this new phenomenon called ‘fast fashion’ and now we have a situation where, as consumers, we are caught in an absurd circle of micro-trends. Think about it. Around two mini-seasons a week in stores. Disposable clothes that stay in a woman’s closet for an average of just five weeks, before being thrown out—all in the name of the democratization of fashion.

“In reality, this evil machine is exploiting everyone and everything: the consumer, the planet’s resources and the people who produce them. Each year across the world, 1.5 billion garments are sewn by an estimated 40 million people, working in 250,000 factories. These are predominantly made in countries described by the [United Nations] as the world’s least developed.

“All in all, the garment and textile industry is estimated to be worth some $3 trillion. And the bulk of that goes into the pockets of the owners of those fast fashion brands. It’s a complicated mess we are in.”

Livia Firth, creative director of Eco-Age and co-founder of the Green Carpet Challenge, speaking to The True Cost director Andrew Morgan about why we need a new system of consumption.